I'm Here to Win: A World Champion's Advice for Peak Performance by Chris McCormack with Tim Vandehey was a book I both looked forward to and dreaded reading. As some of you know, I think that Chris “Macca” McCormack is somewhat of a blowhard and a braggart. He’s won numerous times at a variety of triathlon distances, but he’s always rubbed me the wrong way. There’s confident and there’s cocky – Macca is the latter. I’m not big on trashtalking – Macca admits it’s part of his preparations for racing. All in all, a guy who could be a role model instead turns me off. This book was read by me in hopes that he would change my mind.
Hachette Book Group:
"As the winner of the 2010 Hawaii Ironman Championship, Chris "Macca" McCormack may be the world's greatest athlete.
In I'M HERE TO WIN, McCormack shares his story along with training tips and practical advice to help readers develop their own routines, diet, exercise programs and race strategies.
Chris McCormack has dedicated his life to training for-- and winning-- the Ironman Hawaii, one of the most grueling tests of mental and physical endurance in the world. The race challenges athletes to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run a full marathon, 26.2 miles, all while battling harsh conditions and their own willpower.
In 2010, McCormack won the Hawaiian Ironman Championship for the second time at 37 years old-- a testament to his fitness and endurance. Macca's journey to athletic greatness is more than just one of physical perseverance. After coming in fourth in Hawaii last year, Macca returned to the island chanting, "I'm Here To Win!" He had a new mental game plan in place that brought him first across the finish line. In his much-anticipated book, Macca shares his playbook and reveals everything it takes-- mind, body, and spirit-- to become a champion.
In addition to his Hawaii Ironman wins, Macca holds the record for the most triathlon race wins ever and it's his winning strategies and mindset that he now brings to the reader in I'M HERE TO WIN.
For weekend warriors who casually compete to seasoned veterans who race every weekend, armchair athletes looking for an extra push and everyone in between, I'M HERE TO WIN provides riveting insight into the mind of a great champion with excitement and inspiration on every page.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chris McCormack "Macca" was born in Sydney, Australia on April 4, 1973. He won titles and awards for his participation in sports during his school years, but initially chose education over a pro sports career and became an accountant after graduating from the University of New South Wales. He began competing professionally in 1996, and most recently, won the 2010 Ironman World Championship in Honolulu."
Nothing in the book made me change my impression of Macca. He seems totally self-absorbed and takes credit for pretty much everything, begrudgingly doling out small increments of thanks to some people. I get this is a biography, and most elite athletes are pretty full of themselves, but no one can do it alone, and I guess I most appreciate those that really point out all the supporters that make their career possible.
One of the things he is most proud of is the fact that he has always done things counter to accepted thought or practice. As a contrarian myself, I would admire this, if it wasn't part of his "mental game...highlighting the fears and insecurities in other athletes." Once again, he just comes across looking somewhat like a jerk.
There's also a strange dichotomy to his writing. In one chapter he will pointing out to the Australian Triathlon Federation how wrong they were by leaving him off the Olympic Squad. Several chapters later he states that he never shoved his success in anybody's face, not even Triathlon Australia. ??? Even his efforts to improve his image are contradicted by him saying that people thought he was trying to be nicer even though he was crushing opponents, winning everything in sight while playing his mental games.
A big part of this lies with me. I have never been particularly competitive and really am not at this stage of my life. Macca is a professional athlete and working with what he has. As he mentions, at the elite level, the physical differences between competitors is infitesmal, so the mental edge was where he played his cards. He didn't mind being the bad guy, the bully, if it meant he won races. It'll be interesting to see how he feels 10 or 15 years from now, when he reflects on his career. I wonder how he'd react if his daughters were either trash-talking their opponents or were the brunt of the trash-talk?
Anything positive to say?
I don't want it to seem like I'm completely down on this book. Sprinkled in the nearly nonstop self-congratulatory pats on his back, Macca has some really insightful strategies to share regarding training, racing, and educating yourself about the sport. They alone are worth reading this book, in spite of the blustering bravado.
Something I hadn't noticed before, but Macca points out in the book, is that he always has the number 19455 either on his apparel or written on his body for every race. The significance? His mother lived for 19,455 days, before succumbing to cancer. He then took that number, 19455, multiplied it by 140.6 (the distance of a long course triathlon), and came up with $2,735,373, the amount he decided to raise for breast cancer. Really a nice gesture.
This book can be ordered through Amazon.com.
Disclaimer: This product was advanced to me for review purposes, courtesy of Hachette Book Group via Net Galley. I was not compensated in any other way for the review, was not obligated to give it a positive review, and all opinions are my own. Some information in this review was taken from the company website.
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